What do all women have in common? Besides love and the absolute need for dry shampoo, it is our ability to multi-task and fulfill multiple roles at once. Think about your own roles for a moment within your own home, career, church, family, and community. You may be a wife, mom, daughter, employer, employee, volunteer, student, teacher, and a combination of those plus so many more. We are constantly trying to balance our various roles and responsibilities. No matter what roles you find yourself fulfilling you are constantly pouring yourself into others all while placing your own needs, desires, and sometimes basic human essentials on the back burner.
We often get so busy with life, in general, we forget to take care of ourselves. We are unable to make time to rest, refresh, and reconnect. Sometimes based on our circumstances of career, family, and maybe even church and community we do not even have the option of self-care. Unfortunately, our relationship with God can often succumb to this busyness of fulfilling our roles and lack of self-care.
I know I personally struggle with finding time to just fulfill my roles and responsibilities let alone find the time and energy for self-care. My family and I travel for my husband’s career and our life is not the traditional family life. My husband works out of town full time and we travel with him the majority of the time. We call Kentucky home and when we are on the road we have stayed in hotels until recently we now stay in a travel trailer at a campground. I homeschool our children ages four, six, and eight all while trying to keep our one-year-old from climbing on absolutely everything! My husband often works eighty plus hours a week leaving the responsibilities of the house and now the camper, the groceries, the meals, the school work, the packing, the preparing, and the children to me.
Because we are out of town we are away from family and friends which means babysitters are basically non-existent without extensive planning ahead and travel on my part or our family that is willing to help us out when needed. This also means I do not have friends local to me to call to come over for some adult communication. By the time my husband gets home from work all the nail salons, hair salons, and anywhere else I could think of for some mama self-care have closed. Therefore, for me in this season of life self-care is not exactly how social media portrays it.
Maybe you can relate as a single mother trying to do everything on your own going out with friends, having a day at the spa those things are impossible when you don’t have the support you need. Maybe you are the one in your family working the eighty plus hours at work leaving you with no clue what self-care even means. Being a college student that works full time, I’ve been there, there is no free time to relax. For some of us, there is no me time, no downtime, no self-care.
Often times our me time, self-care time, or any free time can be the time we dedicate to focus on our relationship with God. Those times can get lost in the shuffle of our schedules and our roles. When our bodies are telling us we need that extra sleep in the morning instead of our quiet time with God. When we are unable to make it to church because of our kid’s extracurricular activities. When work keeps us from extra time studying our Bible. Unfortunately, when we are missing out on our alone time with God in prayer, bible study, in worship, and/or in connecting with him daily we may find ourselves feeling disconnected from Him.
This rut of disconnection from God is easier to fall into when the rest of our lives, though busy, are going well. When we are in the mundane of everyday life with little to no trials, tribulations, or emergent needs can easily be swept away by the busyness around us. Not having an urgent need or desire to bring to God we can be caught up in our daily life and pray our simple prayer or our routine grace before eating meals or maybe skip prayer completely. We may be so exhausted from fulfilling our roles as women we take those extra quiet minutes in the early morning to sleep in instead of reading a devotional or listening to our favorite podcast. We know we have a relationship with God, we love Him, we need Him, but we may not realize our lack of putting forth effort and time into our relationship with Him is actually causing us to slowly stop pursuing him altogether.
When we are not pursuing God and not seeking him in our daily lives we are not just taking a quick break or resting. We are, however, risking everything. Becoming less connected to God and allowing our spiritual priorities to become less important than our worldly priorities sets us on a path of disappointment and total spiritual burnout. When we are not fully in pursuit of God and striving for a deeper, intimate connection with him on a daily basis we are allowing a distance to wedge between us. Then when we hit a speed bump in our life like a struggle, a trial, or a tragedy it makes the direction we should go less clear. It allows the enemy to fill that gap between God and ourselves. Then the hopelessness creeps in, doubt, fear, and anxiety begin taking over. We begin to doubt God and question our faith.
We all need rest, trust me as a mother who has not slept since 2009, I know we crave rest. Actually, God wants us to rest. He himself rested, “And on the seventh day God finished his work that he had done, and he rested on the seventh day from all his work that he had done.” Genesis 2:2 (ESV) He rested because his job was finished. We often need rest before our jobs are finished and that is okay and to be expected. We should be searching for that rest in God. He is our safe haven, our refuge. We should be in a dire need of rest in God. “Trust in him at all times, O people; pour out your heart before him; God is a refuge for us. Selah” Psalm 62:8 (ESV)
Instead of just doing the bare minimum in our relationship with God and thinking we can just coast by as long as we are saved we need to invest ourselves fully in Him. We need to pursue him in the deepest most passionate way. We need to strive to meet with him daily over and over again. We need to submit ourselves, our days, and our roles over to Him. We should be fully immersed in the relationship with God instead of coasting by until we feel like we need his help. Jesus even took the time he needed to be alone and pray to God, “And rising very early in the morning, while it was still dark, he departed and went out to a desolate place, and there he prayed.” Mark 1:35 (ESV)
Once we have committed ourselves to God and we engage in that relationship fully and purposefully we may just find that balance and that rest we have been searching for. God created us for His glory and purpose. So why not allow the one who created you to define you, your roles, and your priorities. Give yourself the most important aspect of self-care, your relationship with God. If you are struggling with finding the time here are some quick ideas.
5 Ways To Find Time for Self-Care With God
1. Lunch break: No matter what your lunch break may look like this is a perfect opportunity to connect with God. Take 15 minutes to yourself, at your own kitchen table (or like most moms standing at your kitchen counter), at your desk at work, in your car in the drive-thru parking lot, whatever works for you! Open your favorite daily devotional and spend some time in God’s word. Maybe devotionals are not your thing and that is okay! Open your bible start in Matthew read one chapter each day at lunch.
2. Early risers: If you are anything like me this may be the hardest idea for you. I am not a morning person in any sense. However, on those very rare occasions, I choose to get up before little hungry kids wake me up the quiet of the morning makes for a perfect time to do some bible journaling or just to spend some time praying. Write down your prayers in a notebook or on your phone and look over them the next few months see how God moves in your prayer life.
3. Night owl: This is my personal favorite. When you are laying in bed and you cannot sleep instead of scrolling Pinterest for all the lovely ideas you do not have time to do, listen to your favorite podcast. Grab your headphones, get comfortable, and just soak in someone’s message about God from a podcast you love. If podcasts are not for you then grab your Bible and a booklight and sink into your favorite Bible study.
4. Mama: To all the other busy moms I know finding time can seem impossible. Take 15 minutes every afternoon. It could be during nap time or after school. Tell your older children to find a quiet activity, turn their favorite movie on, read a book, play a game on their tablets, whatever works for you and your family. Set that time aside for you to listen to sit down and just spend quality time with God. Pray, journal in your Bible, find a verse that encourages you and write it down.
5. Working women: No matter if your career is at home, in the office, or on the road finding downtime is incredibly difficult. Turn on some praise and worship music while you are getting ready, in the shower, in the car, at your desk, while making breakfast, or whatever can work for your schedule. Just take that time to worship God through music.
Carve out the time anywhere you can find it. In the car, in the morning, at lunch break, after the kids go to bed, whenever you can get it. Invest fully in your relationship with God and allow Him to move in your life giving you a purpose and the tools you need. Start scheduling in your self-care time and remember the best way to take care of yourself is to fully invest and commit to your relationship with God.
Scripture quotations are from the ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved 000000